Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Economic valuation of the benefits of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan - NE0113

The UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) was published in 1994 in response to the government’s commitments under Article 6 of the Biodiversity Convention, to develop national strategies for the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of biological resources. To date, 391 species and 45 habitat action plans have been established in the UK. These action plans have led to considerable conservation effort to help protect the UK’s most important habitats and species. The protection of habitats and species, in turn, generates benefits (i.e. protects and enhances ecosystem goods and services) which help to maintain and increase people’s economic prosperity and welfare. Ecosystem goods are defined as those natural products harvested or used by humans such as wild foods, timber, beautiful landscapes etc. Ecosystem services help to maintain and support life on our planet by regulating essential processes such as water and air purification, nutrient recycling, decomposition of wastes, pollination of crops, as well as moderating environmental conditions by stabilising climate, mitigating droughts and floods and protecting against soil erosion.

Defra and the devolved administrations have made (and will continue to make) significant investments towards achieving the UK BAP targets, which in turn will help sustain associated ecosystem goods and services. These government organisations are now interested in gaining a better understanding of the ‘total economic value’ that people attain from the changes in biodiversity and associated ecosystem services resulting from the implementation of the UK BAP. This research aims to address this question.

In our research, we will utilise the ‘choice experiments’ environmental valuation technique. Choice experiments are a survey based technique which asks people to make choices between different bundles of environmental goods and services; in this case they will be asked to choose between different levels of provision of ecosystem goods and services associated with the delivery of the UK BAP. Analysis of these choices will enable economic values to be identified for these ecosystem goods and services. These values will then be linked to individual habitat and species BAPs, to allow us to estimate the total economic value associated with the delivery of the UK BAP.

In practical terms, the research will be undertaken over three phases. Phase 1 will involve a detailed review of ecological knowledge on the extent to which the UK BAP provide ecosystem goods and services. Phase 2 of the research will then explore how this ecological knowledge can best be framed into a choice experiment valuation survey that is both meaningful and plausible to the public. In the final Phase, we will administer the survey during a series of 36 valuation workshops involving over 500 people located throughout the UK. The results from the survey will allow us to identify how much people value the ecosystem goods and services associated with the delivery of the UK BAP.

The results from this work will be used by Defra and the other devolved administrations to (i) assess the value for money that they are achieving from continued investment in the UK BAP, (ii) enable them to better target resources to those BAPs which provide people with the greatest welfare benefits and (iii) hopefully provide further justification for the continued protection of our valuable habitats and species.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : NE0113 - Value UK BAP FINAL   (8477k)
• Science Forms : SID3 Tender   (2720k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2007

To: 2010

Cost: £223,686
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Wales, Aberystwth